Many teachers today weren’t really taught piano technique in a systematic way growing up. We want to make sure our students have a different experience…but where can we even start? This is where piano technique books can be very useful.
⬆️ Listen to the podcast above or keep on reading, whichever fits your style. ↙️
Piano technique books are not going to train a teacher in effective piano technique if they already have bad habits. (For that, I recommend seeking out a teacher for yourself!) But books can help to provide pathways for teachers to take students along when the way seems murky and fuzzy.
If you already play with good technique yourself but aren’t sure how you got here – or how to guide your students there – this is the article for you.
Piano Technique Books
Let’s start with the books which are specifically about teaching piano technique.
Some of these books are designed to give to students, while others are for your reference. But they can all teach you an enormous amount as a teacher.
What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body
I’m going to start with a book which is in a class of its own. I recommend this book to teachers all the time because it’s about how our anatomy works when we sit at the piano to play.
As I mentioned in this article about teaching technique, I define technique as “the way you move your body to produce the sound you want” and good technique as “efficient ways to move your body to produce the sound you want”.
If you agree with me, then you actually need to understand your body to make that happen! Thomas Mark’s book is the best place to start that journey.
What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body is also available at Amazon.
Animal Adventures by Piano Safari
If you haven’t tried out Piano Safari yet and don’t want to jump into a whole new method, then you should start with the Animal Adventures book.
This book introduces seven animal techniques which form the basis of great beginning piano playing. These exercises teach students about arm weight, legato, rotation and fluid movement.
The book includes the technique exercises, accompanying rote pieces and improvisations you can do to expand on the technique and further reinforce the movements with your students.
If you’re going to try Animal Adventures, make sure to download my free tracking chart to motivate your students as they progress through the exercises.
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Technique Trainer by Jackie Sharp
Some older students might be put off by the animal names in the Piano Safari technique exercises, or may just need a different approach for reinforcement. In those cases, I like to use Technique Trainer by Jackie Sharp.
This book teaches piano technique in a similar order and progression to Piano Safari, but in a very different style. The videos which go along with Technique Trainer are a great addition – especially for my adult students.
You can find Technique Trainer at Sheet Music Plus in both hard copy and e-book format.
The Complete Pianist by Penelope Roskell
This is a great book which takes a holistic, whole-body approach to piano technique. Great for teachers who want to help intermediate-advanced students or even work on their own technical weaknesses.
UK residents who follow the Colourful Keys blog can order signed copies at a 15% discount from www.peneloperoskell.co.uk. (Enter code TCP15. UK mailing addresses only, please.)
Fit 4 Piano by Rae de Lisle
Fit 4 Piano sits somewhere in between The Complete Pianist and Technique Trainer (both above.) It’s not as advanced or technical as The Complete Pianist, but it is very thorough and includes videos throughout.
Fit 4 Piano is available on Rae’s website.
Want more of my favourite repertoire and resources? Hop on over to my centralised page devoted to entirely to Planning Piano Lessons.
Piano Method Books
Some piano method books include great ways to visualise different techniques by introducing musical gestures. Here are a few methods which I have learnt tips and tricks from over the years.
If you’re going to learn technique from just one set of method books, I recommend Piano Safari. Not only is their technique progression sound and thorough, the teacher guides on their site are unparalleled and available for free!
Want to know why I love Piano Safari so much? Watch this video where I explain why my love for these books runs so deep. ❤️
Tales of a Musical Journey
Tales of a Musical Journey is a young-beginner method by Irina Gorin. Her work is where I first truly understood the value of having young students play with just one finger at a time rather than jumping into using five-finger positions.
I recommend watching some of Irina Gorin’s wonderful YouTube videos to learn more about her method.
You can get your own copy of Tales of a Musical Journey from Amazon.
If you want to experience how Piano Adventures approaches technique, I recommend grabbing a copy of the primer-level teacher guide.
Even if you don’t end up using the method, it’s an interesting read!
What piano technique book has taught you the most as a teacher?
I’d love to hear your top piano technique books in the comments below. 🙂